A More Natural Return to the Earth

The Natural Funeral, Boulder’s green funeral home, can arrange:

Conventional burial with green options such as natural, Reverent Body Care™, and a natural, biodegradable casket or shroud. We can also assist with after-death vigils before burial. When you purchase a plot at a conventional cemetery, you will most likely be required to purchase an outer burial container/vault which may be plastic, fiberglass, or cement). It is also likely you will need to pay for opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care of the gravesite.

Green burial at a designated green burial or natural burial cemetery typically means natural landscaping and native vegetation, no embalmed bodies, no outer burial containers/vaults (generally plastic, fiberglass or cement) and only biodegradable caskets/shrouds allowed. Green burial is the least impactful environmentally of any method of disposition. We offer Reverent Body Care™ for your loved-one at death, and assistance with after-death vigils before burial.

Green burial on private land. We can advise on the steps and procedures for burial on private land, which may or may not be permissible, depending on where you live. Colorado law allows for this but specific rules vary county-by-county. In Boulder county, green burial can happen on unincorporated land, but check with your local zoning office for details.

See our Services Page for specific information about our burial packages and prices.

Burial FAQs

1. What is Conventional Burial?

A typical conventional burial is in a cemetery that requires a graveliner or a vault or outer burial container (as cemetery policy, not as a legal requirement). Remains may be chemically embalmed or not. There are generally no rules for the casket material (it is not necessary for the casket to biodegrade). Landscaping may be resource intensive, include high water usage for non-native vegetation, and involve the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

2. What is the environmental impact of conventional burial?

Each year, in US cemeteries, we bury:

  • Around 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde-based embalming fluid
  • Around 1,000 tons of casket steel
  • Around 200,000 tons of concrete in burial vaults
  • Enough wood to build 40 homes.
Additionally, conventional burial involves the consumption of fossil fuel and other precious resources for the manufacturing of grave products and for cemetery upkeep.

3. What is the embalming process that The Natural Funeral chooses NOT to offer?

Embalming is an invasive process involving draining the body of fluids at death, puncturing internal organs to pump in highly carcinogenic embalming fluid, dyes and other toxic products. Despite claims to the contrary, it is not a sanitary measure but allows for the temporary preservation of the deceased’s remains. Cooling of the body is an acceptable legal alternative. In the US, modern embalming began during the Civil War. Before that, natural deathcare was the norm. The Natural Funeral offers gentle, non-invasive care of your loved-one at death with Reverent Body Preparation.

4. If you would like to bury “greener” at a conventional cemetery, how can The Natural Funeral help?

The Natural Funeral will advise and or carry out natural Reverent Body Preparation. We provide a range of natural caskets and shrouds. We can request that the outer burial container or vault be upturned to allow for contact with the earth beneath.

5. What are conventional cemetery expenses?

You will select and purchase a plot directly with the cemetery. In addition to the cost of the plot, you will need to pay for the opening and closing of the grave, any grave liner or vault required, a monument (according to cemetery specifications) and a perpetual care fee for grave upkeep and landscaping.

6. Is it possible to bury on private land in Colorado?

Yes, but it depends where you live. You should check the zoning regulations in your county to determine what is possible. Colorado also has protocols and forms for burial on private land. Contact The Natural Funeral for information and advice.

7. Is green burial cheaper than conventional burial?

Sometimes green burial is cheaper because you will not need to purchase a vault or an expensive casket, but the cost of the plot may vary. Some private cemeteries with green sections may sell green burial plots at a premium. Municipal cemeteries often offer green burial plots that are less expensive.

8. Can families participate with green burial?

Green burial lends itself to direct and meaningful connection with your loved-one at death through graveside participation and ceremony. Families may sometimes act as pallbearers, or add small amounts of earth to the grave. What is allowed will depend on each cemetery’s regulations.

9. What markers are allowed at green burial cemeteries?

This will depend on the type of cemetery and the cemetery’s regulations. Some natural burial grounds may allow only flat, on-the-ground markers of natural material such as stone.